What to do with tiny peaches?
September 6, 2021 12:49 PM   Subscribe

The house I rent has a small peach tree that produces lots of tiny, hard, thick-skinned peaches. They currently fall on the patio deck for several weeks making a mess. Some are eaten by squirrels and maybe rats, opossums or raccoons. They taste pretty good but the size, skin and bruises from hitting the ground make them rather unpalatable to eat out of hand. Making jam doesn’t really seem feasible or am I missing something?

They’re too small to really peel, especially with the stone pit. I mostly sweep them up and toss in the city compost bin. This tree is next to my neighbors crab apple tree, which also drops useless fruit on my patio. The crab apples are mealy. Is there anything I can do with the peaches and/or crab apples besides throw them away?

I’ve thought about trying (fuzzy?) peach salsa or even moonshine. (Small home stills are not too expensive and I’ve wanted to try my hand at it.) Let me know your ideas/suggestions.

Pictures of fruit to see size.
posted by shoesietart to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
You can can the peaches and use them for cobbler or pies all year round. You can also make all kinds of infused booze.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:52 PM on September 6, 2021


Next year if you thin the peaches when they are small and green you will get bigger peaches.
posted by rockindata at 1:08 PM on September 6, 2021 [13 favorites]


Response by poster: Most canned peaches are peeled and sliced. That's not feasible here. These peaches are the size of large cherry tomatoes.

My picture includes a full-sized peach, lime and tennis ball for size comparison.

I've done infusions with dried fruit but never fresh. I'll take a look at that!
posted by shoesietart at 1:24 PM on September 6, 2021


Best answer: Peach jelly
Peach butter
Peach leather
posted by carrioncomfort at 1:37 PM on September 6, 2021 [1 favorite]


Maybe turn them into a shrub for drinking?

Or (just spitballing here) maybe preserves of some sort? I imagine that if you washed them, then simmered with some water and sugar, it'd be possible to mash them down and pull the pits out. Then through a food mill to get rid of the skins, and you might have a nice peach butter kind of thing going on.
posted by Lexica at 1:39 PM on September 6, 2021 [2 favorites]


If you freeze them and then thaw them again, the skins should pinch off or fall off under running water. You should be able to squeeze them in your hand to get the stones out at that point. You can just keep a freezer bag going as you collect and stash them, and then thaw all at once when you've got enough to accomplish anything with them.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:06 PM on September 6, 2021 [3 favorites]


Peach chutney. Most recipes suggest blanching the peaches which will make peeling them much easier.
Crab apple jelly.
posted by boudicca at 2:44 PM on September 6, 2021 [2 favorites]


I spent last night pitting a boxful of windfall plums. The pits came out easy enough and I boiled the fruit up to kill the bugs, intending to make jam. I was inspired to make a few passes through the pulp with a blitzer-wand to reduce the size of the skins. But afterwards I reckoned that I could have also pushed the cooked pulp through a sieve, leaving pits and skin behind. If the alternative is the compost heap, anything you can save is a win.
posted by BobTheScientist at 2:53 PM on September 6, 2021


Best answer: Prune the tree. There are lots of videos. Be aggressive; the branches should be be quite open when you're done. Fertilize it; the nursery will have something appropriate. Next year, the peaches will be better, and if you continue caring for the tree, you should start getting good fruit. It's really satisfying to care for trees.
posted by theora55 at 3:03 PM on September 6, 2021 [5 favorites]


Nthing some kind of peach jam or jelly, or peach butter. You should be able to pit them by just cutting them in half (run a knife around it vertically, then twist to separate the halves and pry the stone out of the half where it ended up) - kind of like what you do with an avocado. Then maybe cut the halves into quarters and dump them into a pot to start cooking into jam. At some point the pulp will be soft enough that you can start fishing the peels out with your fingers.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:04 PM on September 6, 2021


What about pickling them like ume?
posted by JPD at 4:13 PM on September 6, 2021 [2 favorites]


Best answer: I would treat them like small crabapples-- wash them, then stab them with a knife, then put them whole in an Instant Pot for 12 minutes on high, then use a food mill to remove the inedible parts. After that you will have a peach slurry you can boil down further for jam. You could throw some additional apples in there for an applesauce hybrid if you don't want to boil it down all the way.

Jelly is also really good for the stuff you don't want to peel and pit individually-- boil/press them for 10 minutes on the stove, then drain the juice and drip the rest overnight, then make the juice into jelly. Or you could drink the juice. This is what I do for muscadine grapes (big seeds and thick skins) and also crabapples (annoying tiny pips in an annoying tiny package.)
posted by blnkfrnk at 5:37 PM on September 6, 2021 [2 favorites]


Best answer: We had a bunch of small plums and got a decent gooey jam by fishing the pits out after cooking them down into a pulp. Don't know if peaches have the same pectin so you might get more of a sauce.
posted by away for regrooving at 8:10 PM on September 6, 2021


Best answer: I have a plum tree just like this (actually it is a neighbor's tree but it grows enthusiastically over our fence). The plums are mostly useless, don't have any great flavor, but I do have a suggestion for harvesting: Take a broom handle or sturdy stick and whack a peach-laden branch to prompt a bunch of the fruit to fall at once. If it's anything like my plum tree it'll dislodge the mostly-ripe fruit and you get to grab it before it gets too bruised up.
posted by saramour at 9:15 PM on September 6, 2021 [1 favorite]


Besides pruning, going forward, you need to thin the set early on. The tree only has so much energy, and the more pieces of fruit it spreads it across, the poorer-quality they'll be.
posted by jocelmeow at 1:31 PM on September 7, 2021


You can blanch the peaches by scoring a shallow X on the bottom, boiling water for 20 seconds, ot until the skin curls away, then immediately evacuate to a bowl of ice water. Once cool, the peaches will be easily peeled by hand. I vote for making clafouti, baked oatmeal, or really anything!
posted by Champagne Supernova at 9:29 PM on September 7, 2021


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